New York City FC schedule released for July's MLS is Back Tournament

NYCFC to open campaign against Philadelphia Union on Thursday, July 9
NYCFC returns to action this month with three group stage matches.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

New York City FC will open up their MLS is Back Tournament campaign on Thursday, July 9 vs. Philadelphia Union at 9 a.m.

The match will be the first 9 a.m. kickoff of the competition and will be the first of three games taking place on the second day of competition at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Ronny Deila’s team will then face off against Orlando City in their second Group A match on Tuesday, July 14 with a 10:30 p.m. ET start time, before rounding off the group stages against Chicago Fire in an 8 p.m. ET kickoff on Sunday, July 19.

In addition to the schedule announcement, MLS confirmed a change to the tournament’s competition structure. The top three teams from Group A, the six-team group which includes NYCFC, will advance to the knockout stage.

Those three teams from Group A will be joined by the top two teams from the remaining five groups, as well as the next three highest ranked teams from the group stage (the fourth-placed team in Group A is eligible to advance) based on points, goal difference, goals for, and fair play points.

Previously, it had been announced that the top two finishers in each group along with the four best third-place teams would move on to the knockout stage, which kicks off with the Round of 16 irrespective of their group and number of teams.

The league also released the knockout bracket, which revealed potential pairings for the knockout stages.

New York City FC takes on FC Dallas in a pre-tournament friendly on Sunday, July 4.

In case you missed it, New York City FC were drawn into Group A of the MLS is Back Tournament alongside Orlando City SC, Inter Miami, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire and Nashville SC.

The group stage will consist of 16 consecutive days of games with each MLS club playing three matches against teams within their drawn groups. All group stage match results will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings, as well as toward qualification to the MLS is Back Tournament knockout stage.

The restart to MLS’ 25th season begins July 8 with a doubleheader on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, TSN and TVA Sports, as Orlando City SC face Inter Miami CF at 8 p.m. ET followed by Chicago Fire FC taking on Nashville SC at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The 54 matches of the MLS is Back Tournament will be televised nationally in the U.S. across ESPN, FOX Sports and the Univision family of networks; in Canada on TSN and TVA Sports networks, as well as globally through the league’s international broadcast partners.

In addition to regular season points in the group stage, there is also a Concacaf Champions League berth and $1.1 million in prize money on the line.